Taylor-3It is always exciting to see what the USSSA Pride players get up to in the off season – so definitely check out this article from the University of Michigan Health Blogs this is a great cause! Nice work Jordan!

My name is Jordan and I’m helping Block Out Cancer with strikeouts

When I played on the U-M softball team, I got involved in a program for student-athletes called Michigan From the Heart. In that program, U-M student-athletes met at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital every Thursday evening to visit patients and their families. It’s a big deal for the U-M sports teams, and we often rushed from practice on Thursdays so we could go.

We’d divide up so each group of student-athletes included a good mixture of athletes from different sports, and then we’d spread out around the hospital. It was an amazing experience and really opened my eyes to the struggles and the courage of these children and their families. My father died of cancer at the start of my junior year of college, after being in remission for 5 years, so cancer has also made a mark on my personal life.

After graduation, I was drafted to the USSSA Pride National Pro Fastpitch softball team. I wanted to continue to help Mott and raise funds, so I combined my love of softball with my passion for Mott and created FIGHT. We held our first “So You Think You Can Hit” event in 2012. I’m a fastpitch softball pitcher and over the years, I’ve heard many of my male friends brag how they could hit one of my pitches. I had them step up to the plate, make a donation and give it a shot.

For a minimum donation of $25, anyone can face me in the batter’s box. They get five pitches or three strikes. My pitches are the equivalent of a MLB pitch of 95 to 105 mph — so hitting them is not easy. To date, no one has been able to get a legitimate hit — even the most macho guys who stride up to the plate with all the confidence in the world. During my first event, we raised more than $1,000 in an hour. I quickly realized that So You Think You Can Hit is a great opportunity to raise money for Mott.

Now, I try to do the event as often as possible, usually in conjunction with one of my USSSA Pride games. My pitching teammates join in on the fun and face potential batters. During the events, we also sell FIGHT t-shirts and bracelets. If anyone ever gets a hit during a So You Think You Can Hit event, they’ll get a free t-shirt.

All the money we raise goes directly to the pediatric cancer unit at Mott Children’s Hospital. The floor manager decides what the unit needs to make the experience more comfortable for the patients and the families. There’s a teen activity room there that I’m hoping to help fix up to make it feel a little more like home.

I realize that I’m not a Desmond Howard who can donate millions of dollars to Mott, but I can do something to help make a difference. All of us can. Every penny we can raise makes a difference.

Take the next steps:

Jordan Taylor graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a degree Literature, Science and the Arts. While at U-M, she was named Big 10 Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and set records in shutouts, strikeouts, saves and no hitters. A native of California, Taylor now plays for the USSSA Pride softball team and is a softball coach for Boston University.

Block Out Cancer is a rallying cry for people from all walks of life to come together to support the fight against children’s cancers.  Everyone has a role to play.  Learn more about how you can help Block Out Cancer.

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” in 2014, and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine in 2013. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.

About USSSA Florida Pride:

The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.

 About NPF:

National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.

About USSSA:

The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.